Ten Years on From the Tragic Death of Baby P
It has been ten years since the death of baby P and the impact of this horrific event continues to influence social work practice today.
Baby P suffered continued horrific abuse. Peter was born in 2006 and over an eight month period, he was seen by children’s services, NHS health professionals, and the police. Peter’s mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker and Steven’s brother Jason Owen were all convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child.
There was a recent article on the Community Care website where six social workers were spoken to about the impact this had on them as practitioners. One, a senior practitioner in a community social work team Stephen Kerr, states that the death of Peter “…did not make me want to become a social worker at all. After all, think of the way social work was completely vilified in the press. I think sometimes when these stories break that social workers are afforded more blame than abusers, but I continued to go into the profession because it was what I really wanted to do and I vowed to maintain a scrupulous approach to practice for my own safety….”
Ryan Wise, a social worker in a child protection team states in the article that “…At the time it angered me, I always felt the profession was incredibly hard work where social workers give their time and effort to help families and watching Shoesmith et al being scapegoated was horrible. The fall back to process is directly related to the fear of being vilified. It has encouraged curiosity but it has also led to suspicion and can work against collaboration as some social workers are overly suspicious….”
Leanne Bridgewater, a looked after children’s social worker stated “… It helps to keep us mindful of potential risks for children and the importance of sharing information to keep them safe due to these consequences.”
There is a lot of good social work practice happening in the UK that often gets unreported. Social workers have a difficult task in keeping young people safe and the network of supportive services also plays a crucial role in this. Foster carers are one piece of the support network of professionals who keep children and young people safe. If you are interested in fostering then why not contact us on 01582 433 775 and speak to a member of our friendly staff.